goingplaceslivinglife

Travel, Food, and Slices of Life


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Choosing Your Words

When I worked at the Vanderbilt Laser Sight Center in the 1990s we were told not to use the word “surgery” but to explain to patients that they would be having a “procedure.”  The word choice supposedly diminished the seriousness of the activity and people, eager for clear vision without glasses or contact lenses, lined up. (Me too. I was first in line in fact.)

The concept of word selection to entice people has long been a part of marketing. Getting people to accept a concept starts with overcoming emotional hurdles with words that reduce the concern.cat-woman

So, now a days surveys have indicated that over 96% of the American public approve of labeling on food packages to inform consumers about GMO content. The fight to label in California lost 49% to 51% and the loss last November in Washington was even narrower. This November the people of Oregon will have a chance to vote on a referendum for labeling.

You can vote in favor for labeling even if you personally do not think GMOs are of concern. There are many people who believe there is no reason to worry. Even so, most agree a label should be able to be provided so others, who are concerned, can have information to make choices for their own eating.choice_color_word

The industry fighting the labeling are those that believe labeling will raise a concern where none should exist. They believe that many people who really don’t know much about food being genetically modified for the past 20 years might think something is wrong. And not buy their food. And they will lose profits.

They use arguments like “it will cost to change the packaging and that cost will result in higher food costs to the consumer” which is bogus, since they change packaging all the time. They want to scare you about something that is meaningless so you don’t get scared by something important. That is keeping your right to know for you.

So we now have leadership joining in. The concept of choosing the words came up June 25 at a BIO international convention in San Diego. “….How do you create a different vocabulary to talk about GMOs……” Hillary Clinton mentioned in her talk and then suggested that explaining the technology would help plants improve drought resistance would convince more people that it was a great improvement over nature.

Yes, it can resist drought better. It also does not get affected when sprayed with heavy doses of weed killer. It also kills insects that bite into the plant. The technology works but sometimes not to the success hoped for. That is not the issue.

green sickOne issue is we are tired of people with power trying to dupe us.  The issue is that we, many of the people who have eaten genetically engineered foods, are uncomfortable with the potential effects that are unproven.  We don’t want to be a science experiment any more. We want to know through labeling.  We are intelligent enough to understand the issue and we want to be able to chose.

I wonder what Hillary chooses to eat.

 

 

 

 

 


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Eating with Thinking

When I was growing up my mother, a nurse, pretty much followed the then-accepted USDA guidelines for meals: a good size helping of protein, 2 vegetables, and a starch like rice or potato or pasta. We did not eat additional bread with dinner, but mom was a baker and we almost always had dessert.  One side benefit: I learned to cook from scratch.meat-and-three-veg1
Some time in my 20s I dated a guy who was going to medical school. He convinced me that I was not eating a well-balanced healthy diet and urged me to take vitamins. He thought one-a-days were not the way to go. Instead, I soon was taking multiple tablets, covering my vitamin and mineral needs.vitamin-list

My mother was appalled and equated my vitamin usage to my sisters’ smoking habit. Really Mom? I ignored her but over time, the daily regimen got tiresome and expensive and so, I stopped.

When kids entered the picture I once again went back to preparing meals more on my childhood model. I cooked from scratch almost all the time but enjoyed certain prepared items. For example, I purchased bobolis instead of making my own pizza dough in those days.fajita

Time passed. Kids grew up. I started visiting farms and learning how much our food system had changed.

sci amOne issue I read about was about the declining nutrient value of the fruits and vegetables we are eating today compared to those I ate as a kid. This article from the  April 27 2011 issue of Scientific America confirmed it.

  • Dear EarthTalk: What’s the nutritional difference between the carrot I ate in 1970 and one I eat today? I’ve heard that that there’s very little nutrition left. Is that true?—Esther G., Newark, N.J.
  • It would be overkill to say that the carrot you eat today has very little nutrition in it—especially compared to some of the other less healthy foods you likely also eat—but it is true that fruits and vegetables grown decades ago were much richer in vitamins and minerals than the varieties most of us get today. The main culprit in this disturbing nutritional trend is soil depletion: Modern intensive agricultural methods have stripped increasing amounts of nutrients from the soil in which the food we eat grows. Sadly, each successive generation of fast-growing, pest-resistant carrot is truly less good for you than the one before.

These farming methods used chemicals to try to enrich the soil. And then in the mid 1990s things changed even more with the beginning of genetically engineered seeds and genetically modified foods. All of a sudden the gastro-intestinal issues my  daughter had had since her teen years might have a simple solution. And similarly, so might some of my own health issues.

So, even though we had no known food allergies, we ran a 6 month experiment. Where ever we knew the farmers’ growing practices, we purchased that food. Where we needed another ingredient or food, we switched to organic. know your farmer

Our effort was to try to improve the nutritional value and cut out even more chemicals, either inside the food as an additive or inadvertently absorbed by the food because of the conventional growing practice.

Six months became a year and now several years have passed. Oh, I’m still eating sugar and whenever Graham and I make a good effort with a South Beach diet, cutting out and then re-introducing carbs at lower levels, I do much better. But overall, I have this to report:

BFBHLogoUnless I eat indiscriminately at any old place away from home, I feel much better. No more tummy troubles. Hardly any twinges from my arthritic joints, and what exists is at a level easily handled by an herbal compound.  I sleep better and wake up feeling high energy.

So, we will be on the road again soon for a trip. While I have researched a few restaurants for several dinners out, I suspect we will run into some eating compromises. heart-health-foods

Travel……eating well at home……travel…….eating well at home…..I LOVE to travel, so I will enjoy and cope and eat well again when we get home.

What about you? Ready to try a new experiment and see if changing your diet can help you feel healthier?


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Don’t Read This IF You Want to Stay Ignorant

That meal you purchased or prepared for yourself and your loved ones? Do you know anything about the food? Do you know how the produce was grown? How the protein was raised?

Do you know that most of the food that is offered to sale in American supermarkets is legally full of chemicals? Do you know that 9-year-old girls now are going through puberty? Do you understand that the hormones fed to cattle so they grow faster do stay in the meat and when you eat beef you are taking in a certain amount of hormones into your body? Do you understand that this affects the way your body functions?

Do you know that animals are raised in contained factories where that are so different from the storybook image of a farm that to see the photos may convince you to become a vegetarian?

What about the produce? The argument about GMOs, genetically modified organisms or GE, genetically engineered foods, has several components. One is that the knowledge of how the genetic modification in our food may affect us is not fully determined. The FDA and USDA says it is safe to eat because the companies who make the seeds say it is. Other scientists indicate otherwise. The other argument is that most plants are treated so they can withstand heavy spraying for weeds and pests and that those chemicals are unhealthy for humans to ingest, causing all kinds of digestive issues, food intolerance and even increased risk of cancer. 

Check out this short six minute video posted by Dr. Mercola to help illustrate some of the issues.

And if my saying so doesn’t raise your concern, check out what this organization of concerned scientists have written.

Afterwards you have a choice. Continue shopping and eating the way you have, dismissing this as one more quack alarmist notice or think about how to adjust your budget to switch to healthier food.

The best option is to know your farmer. This is not difficult anywhere in the country. Even large cities like New York have farmers markets that are located in neighborhoods.  Go  to Local Harvest to help identify where you can access fresh farm food raised in your area. Then get to know them. Support your local farmers to help keep them feeding us.know your farmer